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LACMA's rock gets its own block party in Long Beach

March 7, 2012 | 11:45 am

LACMA rock
Some neighborhoods throw block parties. On Wednesday, the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach is throwing a rock party. And the area is going all-out.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 340-ton boulder –- on an 11-day trip from Riverside County to the mid-Wilshire museum –- currently is parked in the middle of the road on Atlantic Avenue, between 36th  and 37th streets.

The local business association is throwing an all-out, carnival-like party for the rock Wednesday, complete with river rock painting, stilt walkers and a DJ playing at Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant (first song? Queen’s "We Will Rock You," of course.)

PHOTOS: Giant rock rolling toward LACMA

The party was originally planned for noon to 4 p.m.; but the massive boulder -– resting in a steel sling on its football field-length transporter -- has become such an attraction that festivities have been extended until 7 p.m. Scores of locals and other gawkers have been stopping by on their way to work, and five groups of schoolchildren have already come through on field trips this morning, says the museum.

L.A.’s newest “rock star,” which will soon become part of artist Michael Heizer’s massive sculpture for the museum, “Levitated Mass,” is now more than halfway through its circuitous 105-mile journey. On its most recent leg, it set off at 10 p.m. sharp Tuesday and traveled from South Street and Palo Verde Avenue in Lakewood to its current location in Long Beach.

MAP: Follow the route

The entire 6-mile stretch took just three hours to complete -– it's the fastest that the unwieldy, 100+-person rock caravan has traveled yet. The crew from Emmert International turned in early Wednesday, at 1 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. as planned.

The monolith will pull out of Long Beach at 10 p.m. Wednesday, at which point it will travel along Atlantic Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. It will cross the Los Angeles River on a bridge at Pacific Coast Highway. The Long Beach stint is the most populated, urban stretch of the rock's journey so far -- with far more utilities, such as power lines and traffic lights, to be maneuvered for a clear passage.


Full coverage:  LACMA's rock

LACMA Rock: trouble with hills

Interactive: Getting the rock ready to roll

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Children gather at the LACMA boulder's Lakewood stop. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times